Joint operation rescues three children in the Philippines
Joint operation enables rescue of three children in the Philippines
A tip-off from New Zealand Police has enabled the rescue of three children in the Philippines who were victims of sexual exploitation.
The rescue in the Philippines stems from a New Zealand investigation where disturbing content was discovered on the computer of a New Zealand man in September 2017.
The content gave Police in New Zealand cause for concern and prompted officers to share the content with colleagues in the Philippines. Further investigation by officers in the Philippines found the children were being abused on demand and this abuse was then being live streamed to subscribers internationally.
Following the discovery an investigation was undertaken with support of New Zealand Customs for the forensic examination of the computer.
The information was shared by New Zealand Police with the Philippines Police who are both part of the Violent Crimes Against Children International Taskforce.
The taskforce is led by the FBI and co-ordinated by them.
Based on the evidence found on the computer a joint operation was undertaken with the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines and NGO the International Justice Mission.
A search warrant was executed by the NBI and International Justice Mission staff as part of the operation in late November.
As a result three children aged 4, 5 and 7 were rescued and the children’s parents were arrested.
“This is a crime that is often driven by poverty and abuse of children in this manner can be seen as a legitimate income source for some families,” said Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael.
New Zealand Police work collaboratively with partners both nationally and internationally to keep children safe and share information where appropriate to stop abuse.
“The abuse and exploitation of children for sharing online is abhorrent.
While the online environment is a tool for enabling this behaviour in this day and age of modern policing it is also a means for New Zealand Police and our partners to investigate the activities and bring an end to the abuse through prosecution,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Michael.
In relation to the initial New Zealand investigation which triggered the Philippines operation a New Zealand man is currently before the courts however for operational reasons we can’t provide further details at this time.